Tag Archive: schoolwork

Back To School Time For Me…

This week I started a new semester of classes over at the California State University at Monterey Bay (CSUMB).  I’ll be going here for at least another four semesters after this one.  I try to keep to just 12 units at a time which allows my wife and I to qualify for campus housing.  CSUMB has what they call East Campus Housing which is more like a duplex than an apartment.  Being a family we have the place to ourselves rather than having to share our space with others.

The rent is reasonable and our gas, electric and cable are all included.  So you can understand my wanting to stick around here for a few more years while my wife Helen (who just earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics) finds work and we can start building up our savings again.  BTW, if anyone knows any good job openings for a Mathematics wiz in California please let me know.  She’s sending out resumes and applications like crazy and is eager to find more opportunities.

Anyway, what does all this have to do with anything.  Well, taking classes eats into my writing time so I may not be as productive some days as I’d like.  However, I’m going to try and keep things going as much as possible.  I will be aiming for at least two blog entries a month, but I’m hoping to do more.  Especially when one of my classes is a Professional Writing course.

Before anyone gets excited, I’m not talking professional writing for novels, or short stories.  This writing class is about writing in a ‘professional’ environment such as business, non-profit agencies, and professional journal magazines.

However, I’m finding the class and what I will be facing rather interesting. Although the tools of the trade are very similar (good grammar, formatting, editing, research, etc.) one must use a different type of mindset.  For instance, I’m going to have to choose a topic and do research on it (sounds familiar so far, right?).  But I have to use peer-review journal articles, respected websites (no wikipedia), as well as non-fiction books.  From there I have to create a proposal letter, an oral presentation, then a 10-12 advocacy report (single-spaced).  This paper will involve a lot of research and rehashing of information that has already been done on the topic while also trying to add some new insight about the topic.  I will have to use the APA style formatting that is required of professionals, as well as have certain number of citations and a reference page.  After that I have to create a “Letter of Appeal” calling for action/support.  Then in the final steps I will have to condense my 12 page report into a one page Executive Summary.  I will also have to create a e-portfolio and visual presentation for the class.

I am also expected to have a separate blog just for my class and create 15 blog entries over the course of the semester talking about my topic, or my class itself.

Doesn’t sound like too much for one semester right?

But never fear, I’m not going to let it get to me.  Instead I’m actually gaining ideas for blog entries about the differences between the types of writing and how I have to change gears mentally from one to the other.

I’ll also be posting about my work on the novels and what’s going on in my head.  I won’t be neglecting those kinds of entries.

So stay tuned, have a great weekend, and keep writing.

“Okay, so where do I go next?”

That’s the question I’ve been asking myself a lot during the week-long break I had from my studies at CSUMB.  I managed to finally put the 2nd draft of “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” (the new official title of my 1st vampyre novel) and am currently reading it aloud to my wife Helen.  I’m already seeing areas that definitely need more work and rewriting, but her reactions to most of the scenes have been very positive.  Plus she’s also providing me with some feedback on one of the characters who she actually created.  There will be a third and possibly a fourth draft before I unleash anything on my beta-readers.  Luckily I’ve got time since the book isn’t going to be released until next fall at the earliest.

In the meantime I really want to get back to “The Door” which is the third book of mine that will feature Alex, Veronica, Cassie and Julie.  This book will wrap up most of the unanswered questions from “The Bridge” and “The Ship”.  We’ll see the final showdown with the mysterious white-haired man who tried to defend the creature inside the bridge and then followed Cassie and Julie all the way to Santa Cruz.  I will also reveal the ghostly Brandon’s secret and why he has watched over Cassie all her life.  The mysterious return of Rachel’s baby will also be explained, considering she was dying when we last saw her.  But I will also be sowing seeds for future books as well, so expect some new characters and mysteries to be unveiled.

However, for now I must think mainly about my studies at school.  I’ve been taking four classes this semester and three of them do NOT have finals, thank God.  However, my Statistics class has a cumulative final which more than makes up for the others not having final exams.  I must get a 65 or better on the final to pass the class even though I’ve already got a “A” grade in it for all my other work.  I hate classes that have that rule.  It puts so much more pressure on a person.

Anyway the exam is scheduled for December 15th, so less than two weeks away.  So I’ll be doing a lot of reviewing and studying, as well as wrapping up the other classes which also have assignments due before the next two weeks are done.  So as you can see I’ve got quite a lot on my plate already.

I still hope to put out a Christmas short story involving Nathaniel (my vampyre), Jason Cloudfoot (yes this story is being set in the past so he’s still alive), Police Chief Roy Peterson, his new second-in-command Veronica Ross, and a very young Julie.  Expect ghosts (perfect for a Christmas story), mystery, and some touching moments.

Until then, I’ll be posting when I can and probably running holiday sale or two.  So stay tuned.  In the meantime, enjoy the season and keep writing everyone.

 In case you hadn’t heard, I started attending the California State University at Monterey Bay in August and the workload had been fairly manageable, until recently.  Things are heating up and I have less and less time to work on my novels, including “The Vampyre Blogs”.  I had planned on getting the latest draft finished, edited, beta-read, etc. so I could have it out in time for Christmas.

Unfortunately, that is not going to happen.  I’ve said before I will not release a book until it’s had all those things done to it.  Currently, I’m still trying to finish the 2nd draft and I’m still not entirely happy with the piece.  Plus I haven’t even started on a cover for the book.  I have one that I made with the computer.

However, I’m not totally sold on this version really.  I’d prefer to try and do a soft pastel piece and then super-impose this image on top of the scene I create with the pastel.
Furthermore, with the holidays getting closer and closer, there’s not way I could expect any of my beta-readers to go over the book and give me their feedback on the eve of major cooking and shopping.
So I’m putting things off until next year.  Mind you, I’m still going to be posting more mini-stories of my vampyre Nathaniel and his friends over at The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition.  If you haven’t checked them out yet here’s the link:
At this point I want to let you all know you won’t be without anything new from me this holiday season.  I’ll be putting together a short story that I’ll release through Smashwords just in time for Christmas.  Smashwords carries e-books for Nook, Kindle, Sony, Apple, or even PDF for those who don’t have an e-reader so you can enjoy it on your regular computer, laptop, or even your phone.  This will be a holiday tale that will involve a crossover of sorts.  My vampyre Nathaniel will be interacting with several characters from “The Bridge”.  Who will appear, I won’t say at this time.  Just be assured you’ll be seeing some familiar faces within the pages of that story.
Finally, I want to also let you all know that you won’t have to wait until October or December of next year for my next novel.  As soon as I get a break from university, I’ll be getting back to work on “The Door”, which will star Alex, Veronica, Julie and Cassandra.  The story will take up where both “The Bridge” and “The Ship” ended and will answer a number of questions that have been hanging over both novels, including the secret of Brandon and his white-haired nemesis.
Where will I go with my Para-Earth Series after that?  Well here’s a list for the next 2-3 years and what they will involve:

Mid-2015 “The Door”

Alex, Veronica, Julie and Cassandra face a new threat which is connected directly to Cassandra’s family dating back over three hundred and fifty years.

October/December 2015 “The Vampyre Blogs – Homecoming”

  In 1862 Nathaniel Steward was only sixteen years old.  He left home to fight in the Union Army, knowing the experience might change him.  He had no idea how much it would.  Now, 150 years later, he’s finally coming back to what he thinks is an empty manor.  What he doesn’t know is someone has been waiting, and some ‘thing’ is following him, a being that does no belong in this world.

Mid-2016 “In The Shadow Of The Door”

Cassandra’s ghostly protector Brandon has always been an enigma to many.  Now, we get to hear his story which will lead directly up to the events that took place in my third book, “The Door”.

December 2016, “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties”

Nathaniel is back and he’s not alone.  A mystery involving a member of his family has arisen, but so has an old enemy.  New dangers arise that threaten not only those he loves, but his entire hometown.  Like any soldier he will fight to protect his place of birth, but it may cost him his very existence.

Mid-2017 – No Title Yet

Brandon’s story continues as he and his uncle continue to struggle with the family curse that everyone believed was over.  The threat has been thwarted but not ended and time is running out.  Soon the door will be reopened and nothing will be able to stop what will come out of it if they don’t seal it for good first.

December 2017, “Harlequin House”

When Alex was only twelve he entered inside the most haunted place on the planet with a team of paranormal investigators.  Most of the team died before his very eyes and he barely got out with his sanity intact.  Now, twenty years later, he’s going back.  Will he be as fortunate this time?

So there you have it folks.  That’s my plans for the next couple of years.  Most of this will depend on how much time I have to write in between my studies of course, but I’m going to do my best to keep to this schedule.  I hope you like what you’ve seen here and look forward to the books as they come out.
That’s all for now.  Thanks for reading and take care of yourselves.  And as always, keep writing.

I’m Back Baby…

In the immortal words of Bender the robot from Futurama “I’M BACK BABY!”  Things are finally settling down from our recent move from Santa Cruz to the Monterey Bay Area.  Both my wife and I have started up with more classes.  She is going to a university, while I’m still studying at a local community college and looking for work.  I’ve been getting applications put in but little response so far.  But hey, at least I’m trying.

In the meantime I’ve been making some serious headway on my 2nd novel “THE SHIP”.  Things had ground to a halt on that front even before we started the move.  I kept finding myself going back to one particular scene I’d done about a third of the way into the story.  Something about it kept nagging at me and I had to keep going back and looking at it.  It was a good scene with plenty of action and even some serious foreshadowing of things to be revealed later in the story.  But there was still something not quite right about it and I just couldn’t get myself to work on the rest of the story because of it.  Eventually I realized I was having a strange type of writer’s block that I dubbed “STEALTH WRITER’S BLOCK” in my other blog.  It was so subtle I hadn’t realized what was happening and that it had brought my whole project to a grinding halt.  However, I finally broke through it in the last few days.  I realized as good as the scene was there was more I could do to it in order to really help the overall story along.  Better foreshadowing along with an important glimpse into Cassandra’s family history, that will play a major role not only in this novel but the next one as well.  I’ll probably post a section of this rewritten scene here in my next entry.  I don’t want to make this entry too long.

I’ve also been working on my Vlog a bit more and have decided to open up a bit more about myself to all of you in it.  Sometimes talking or showing is easier than writing.  I’ve got several videos planned out, one of which will be a sort of tribute to one of my favorite types of film, the silent comedies from the early 1910’s-1920’s.  Another will be about settling into my new place and getting acquainted with the area a bit.  While the third one will go deeper into how I create and develop characters for my novels.

So stay tuned for those.  And as I mentioned before, I’ll also be posting more of my 2nd book here very shortly.  Thanks for reading and take care.  I’ll be back with more soon.

Hi everyone.  For those who haven’t realized, I have this blog and another one.  This blog has been mostly for talking about my novels that are finished or are under way.  The other blog which I’ve titled, “MUSINGS OF A CREATIVE MIND” is all about writing itself.  Dealing with writer’s block, getting ideas and inspirations, trying to find an agent, my efforts to get published, all that good stuff.

Now in regards to novel #2 “THE SHIP”, the total word count is up to 61,000.  I haven’t had as much time to write lately due to college demands.  I’m getting close to finals already so the workload is increasing.  I’m going to spend most of this afternoon though on the novel.  I’m caught up for the moment and want to take advantage while I’ve got the chance.  Next weekend is going to be shot because I have a special all-day class on Saturday to wrap up one of my classes, so I won’t have as much time to do other things.  But rest assured, “THE SHIP” is now 2/3’s done and I hope to have a completed 1st draft by the middle or end of June.

In the meantime if anyone is interested in reading my other blog, today’s topic is about “LAYERING”.  For those who don’t know that term it’s a phrase to describe how a writer will add on more and more details to a scene/setting to give the reader more of an idea or feel for the action and where it’s taking place.  For more information please click on the link below:



Limited Laptop Access…

Hello everyone, I’m afraid that i have limited access to my computer for the moment.  My wife’s laptop got damaged and is currently still in the shop being repaired.  Now, in case you didn’t know we’re both currently taking college classes and she needs internet access to do a lot of on-line homework.  So I’m sharing my computer with her.  Ergo, I haven’t been online a lot lately.

I can report that I’m over 1/2 way through the first draft of my 2nd novel “The Ship”.  However I’m considering changing the name to “The Deathship” but I’m not sure yet.  The book is part of my horror/mystery/sci-fi series and is a sequel to my first book “The Bridge”.  Any thoughts on the title choice would be greatly appreciated.  To help you decide I’m going to give you all a brief rundown on the story.

Billionaire shipping heiress and psychic Cassandra Elliott and her new love Julie DeLuca-Cloudfoot have come to Santa Cruz California to unwind and recover from a battle with a creature from  a parallel version of Earth back in book one.  While staying at a beach house they encounter a living ship from the past.  This vessel is known as the DEATHSHIP and has crossed paths with Cassandra’s family before.  After a brief encounter the ship during a surfing less, Cassandra is briefly touched by the nightmare vessel and it has  learned of her psychic powers.  Now it is hunting her not for revenge, but because it wants her to be its new navigator.  At the same time, two enemies who survived from the first book have followed her to Santa Cruz and are trying to keep her alive for their own sinister purposes.  Only two things are keeping Cassie safe.  One is her Seneca Shamaness girlfriend Julie.  The other is the ghost of Brandon Elliott, a 19th century ancestor who, for reasons unknown, has watched over her since the day she was born.

I’m featuring an actual places found here in Santa Cruz where I live.  Plus I’m using a historical landmark known as the Concrete Boat as one of the key components in the novel’s final battle scene.  I’m hoping to have a completed 1st draft by the end of this month… provided I get full access to my laptop back soon and college doesn’t overload me with homework.

That’s all for now.  Hope to post more soon.  Have a great weekend everyone and please leave some comments, I could really use some feedback on this blog.  Thanks.

This entry is copied from my other blog, but since I have other readers here I wanted to share it with you all.  Especially since this will affect how often I am able to post things here.  Mind you I will be posting another section of my novel “The Bridge” here within a week.  I’ve had several people ask about the man who was being pursued in my Prologue so I decided I will give you all some more.  And for the record, yes he is the main character (one of 4 actually).  I’ll let you meet him in happier times in my next installment.  For now here is an update of what’s coming up for me.

Tomorrow my summer vacation is officially over.  Not that I’ve had a lot of vacation time per se.  I was doing intern work at a Center for  Domestic Violence over most of the summer.  I had a couple of weeks to myself, but tomorrow I go back to college.  And what a way to start things.  I have 4 classes tomorrow.  The first one starts at 9:30AM and the last one ends at 9:00PM.  I’ll be taking a heavier load this time.  This is so that I can finish my major and get a B. S. in Human Services and several certificates by December.  Great way to end the year and give myself an early X-mas present.

But even then it’s not over.  Oh no.  I’m already approved for more Pell Grant money for another semester so I’ll be taking some evening courses in order to make myself prepped to transfer to a four year college IF I choose to do so.  In the meantime I’ll be looking for a regular job.  UNLESS of course I get an agent and my books take off like gangbusters and Hollywood starts beating on my door for the rights to them.  Yes, I like to dream in Technicolor, with a wide-screen, HD quality, and Dolby Surround-Sound.

But more than likely if I get an agent and my books get grabbed up, I’ll be working part-time so I can still write more often than if I were full-time.  This is something I’ve picked up from a lot of established writers.  You may wish to write full-time and do nothing else, but until you have a big enough audience following your work, you need a regular job.  Keeping a roof over your, head and eating regularly makes it a lot easier to continue the creative process.

I’m still waiting on the agent in New York who has my manuscript (may she and her family be safe along with all my other family and friends back east).  But for most of this week I kept waking up with a feeling that I’m going to hear something positive when the time comes.  I don’t know why, I just do.  So, fingers crossed and we’ll see what happens when she does contact me.

In the meantime, I’ll be writing between classes.  I intend to take my laptop with me to school everyday and save everything on back up sticks and discs.  A little trick I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs so if God forbid something happens to your computer you haven’t lost everything.  Homework will take precedence over writing, but I’ve always been good about getting my homework and reading done quickly.  Hey, I’ve been carrying a 4.0 grade average for the last year and half, so I musts be doing something right.

So stay tuned and keep writing everyone.  I’ll try to be better about updating than I have in recent months.

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